Advisory Board

Kathleen Brown
Partner
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
Biography

Kathleen Brown

Partner
Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Kathleen Brown’s practice focuses on business counseling, government and regulatory affairs, particularly as they relate to the healthcare, energy and financial services industries.

Ms. Brown brings to her practice a background that includes 18 years as a senior executive in the banking and financial services industry and 16 years of public sector experience, including a term as California’s state treasurer.

Ms. Brown joined Manatt after more than 12 years at Goldman Sachs, Inc., a global investment banking and securities firm, where she served as chairman of Midwest Investment Banking and, prior to that, as managing director and head of the firm’s Western Region Public Sector and Infrastructure Group.  Ms. Brown also held various senior positions with Bank of America, including president of the private bank.

During her tenure with Goldman Sachs, she worked closely with healthcare institutions in California and the Midwest in both an investment banking and strategic advisory capacity, with a particular focus on helping firms navigate the challenges and leverage the opportunities presented by healthcare reform. She also worked with energy clients and participated in over $4.2 billion of water and power bond financings, working extensively with municipal utilities in California, including on projects to meet California’s renewable energy standards.

Ms. Brown’s experience in the government arena includes serving a term as California state treasurer, where she managed a $25 billion bond portfolio, oversaw a $32 billion cash management fund and served as a trustee on the boards of CALPERS and CALSTRS, two of the largest pension funds in the nation.  During that time she was Co- Chair of the Council of Institutional Investors.  She was the Democratic Party nominee for Governor of California in 1994, the Co-Chair of the Presidential Commission on Capital Budgeting, a commissioner of the Los Angeles Board of Public Works, and a two term member of the Los Angeles Board of Education.

Before beginning her campaign for treasurer, Ms. Brown was an attorney in the New York and Los Angeles offices of a global law firm, where she was a member of the Capital Markets Group specializing in public and corporate finance.

Ms. Brown serves on the Board of Directors of Sempra Energy, Renew Financial, Stifel and FivePoint Communities, the Mayor’s Fund Los Angeles and the Advisory Board of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

Robyn Beavers
CEO
Blueprint Power
Biography

Robyn Beavers

CEO
Blueprint Power

Robyn Beavers started her career as an energy efficiency consultant and then moved on to become the founding member of Google’s Green Business & Operations strategy team. In this role she delivered several green strategic programs including the country's largest corporate solar installation at the time, energy efficiency retrofits for Google's global offices, employee incentive programs, and the creation of a large scale renewable energy investment program. While pursuing her MBA, Robyn served as a Fellow for the Department of Energy. In 2011, she joined Vestas Wind Systems where she created WindMade, a global NGO that issues the first global consumer label for brands and products made with wind energy. She then joined DEKA Research & Engineering to commercialize their various distributed water and power technologies. Her most recent corporate involvement has been as Sn VP for NRG Energy. She holds both a B.S. in Civil Engineering and an MBA from Stanford University.

Jim Kelly
Director
S&C Electric
Biography

Jim Kelly

Director
S&C Electric

Jim Kelly retired from Edison International (EIX) on July 1, 2011, after almost 38 years of service with the Company.

Prior to his retirement, Mr. Kelly was the senior vice president of Transmission & Distribution for Southern California Edison, responsible for the operation and maintenance of an electrical grid comprised of over 12,000 miles of transmission and 100,000 miles of distribution lines spread across a 50,000-square-mile service area.

Mr. Kelly was also president of Edison ESI, a subsidiary company that operates one of the largest electrical and mechanical repair facilities in the U.S..

Kelly was previously the vice president of Engineering & Technical Services, responsible for planning, engineering, and designing SCE’s electrical grid, as well as research and development, safety and training. Mr. Kelly was one of the early pioneers of the Smart Grid, developing a roadmap for a smarter, safer, more reliable and more environmentally responsible electric grid. Among many other awards and honors, Jim was selected as the IEEE’s “Leader in Power” in 2009.

Kelly also previously served as the vice president of Regulatory Compliance and Environmental Affairs, and has in-depth experience with environmental regulation, permitting and licensing.

Since his retirement, Jim has advised or directed a number of firms in the energy space. 

Jim earned a bachelor’s degree from California State University, Long Beach, and a master’s degree from California State Polytechnic University.  He holds teaching credentials in several subjects and has taught at a number of colleges and universities throughout his career.

Jonathan Weisgall
Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy
Biography

Jonathan Weisgall

Vice President, Government Relations
Berkshire Hathaway Energy

Jonathan Weisgall is Vice President for Government Relations for Berkshire Hathaway Energy Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. He joined CalEnergy (Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s predecessor company) in 1993 as Vice President for Legislative and Regulatory Affairs.

Weisgall also serves as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Directors of the Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and on the Geothermal Resources Council Policy Committee.

He is an Adjunct Professor of Law at Georgetown University Law Center, where he has taught a seminar on energy issues since 1990 and recently received the Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award as outstanding adjunct professor of the year. He has been named one of the top Washington, DC corporate lobbyists by The Hill since 2004.

Weisgall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Columbia College and from Stanford Law School and has published articles in Legal Times, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, SAIS Review, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Bob Foster
Board Member
EPCOR Utilities
Biography

Bob Foster

Board Member
EPCOR Utilities

Bob Foster has spent more than 40 years in the energy policy arena in California.  He began his career working on energy efficiency for the State Senate and then led the energy efficiency program for the California Energy Commission.  He then joined Southern California Edison working his way up in the company, eventually serving as its President from 2002 to 2006.  After retiring from SCE, he ran for and was elected Mayor of Long Beach, Ca., serving for 8 years from 2006 to 2014.  He also served as Chair of California’s Independent System Operator (CAISO) from 2011 to 2014.  He now operates Prometheus Advisors, providing consulting on energy, water, entitlements, and public policy issues. He serves on the boards of EPCOR in Edmonton Canada, the American Transmission Company in Milwaukee, and Port Solutions in Los Angeles.  Bob is an ardent baseball fan and in 1983 coached a team from Sacramento to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pa.

Mary Nichols
Chair
California Air Resources Board
Biography

Mary Nichols

Chair
California Air Resources Board

Mary D. Nichols is Chair of the California Air Resources Board, a post she has held since 2007.

Nichols has devoted her entire career in public and nonprofit service to advocating for the environment and public health. In addition to her work at the Air Board, she has served as Assistant Administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air and Radiation program under President Clinton, Secretary for California's Resources Agency from 1999 to 2003 and Director of the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Her priorities as chairman include moving ahead on the state's landmark climate change program (AB 32), steering the Board through numerous efforts to curb diesel pollution at ports and continuing to pass regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley. She values innovation, partnerships and common-sense approaches to addressing the state's air issues.

Felicia Marcus
Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board
Biography

Felicia Marcus

Chair
California State Water Resources Control Board

Felicia Marcus was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the State Water Resources Control Board (Board) for the State of California in 2012, and designated by the Governor as Chair in April of 2013.  The Board is responsible for both water quality and water rights issues in the state and is currently focusing on issues ranging from setting water quality objectives for the San Francisco Bay and Delta; to general permits for stormwater pollution control; to reviewing irrigated lands permits to control agricultural drainage.  The Board sets statewide policy, settles water rights disagreements, and hears appeals of local regional board water quality decisions. 

Before her appointment to the Water Board, she was the Western Director for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a national environmental leader in bringing science, law, and policy expertise to solving our world’s pressing environmental and conservation challenges. Prior to joining NRDC, Felicia was the Executive VP/COO of the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a national non-profit devoted to conserving land for people. Before coming to TPL, Felicia served as the Regional Administrator of the U.S. EPA Region IX in the Clinton Administration where she was known for her work in bringing unlikely allies together for environmental progress and for making the agency more responsive to the communities it serves, particularly Indian Tribes, communities of color, local government, and agricultural and business interests. While at USEPA, Felicia worked extensively on the range of environmental issues under EPA’s jurisdiction, most heavily in air quality, Bay-Delta water, tribal, and US-Mexico border issues. Prior to that, Felicia headed Los Angeles’ Department of Public Works at a time when the City went from garnering lawsuits to garnering national awards for environmental excellence. Felicia came to Public Works after extensive experience as a public interest lawyer and community organizer in Los Angeles.

She currently serves or has served in the past on many non-profit boards and Advisory Councils including the Public Policy Institute of California Statewide Leadership Council, Sustainable Conservation, USC-Kesten Institute for Public Finance and Infrastructure Policy, and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. She is also currently an Obama Administration appointee to the Commission on Environmental Cooperation-Joint Public Advisory Council (US, Mexico, Canada) and was a Schwarzenegger Administration appointee to the Delta Stewardship Council prior to being appointed to the Water Board.

Panama Bartholomy
Director
Building Decarbonization Coalition
Biography

Panama Bartholomy

Director
Building Decarbonization Coalition

Forging partnerships among varying disciplines and stakeholders, Panama Bartholomy has managed and facilitated the creation and implementation of some of the largest climate and energy programs in the United States. Panama’s work focuses on finding policy and program solutions for communities facing energy efficiency, renewable energy, land use and climate change challenges. Panama combines frontline experience with state and local government policy and has dealt extensively in the regulatory and utility arenas.  

Previously, Panama was the Advisor on Energy and Natural Resources to California Assembly Speaker John A. Perez where he oversaw the State of California’s energy and environmental legislation and budget. He earlier served as Deputy Director of the California Energy Commission’s Efficiency and Renewables Division and advisor for Chairmen Douglas and Pfannenstiel, worked for the California Conservation Corps on vocational environmental education, and ran the Sustainable Schools program for the Division of the State Architect. Panama served on the City of Sacramento Planning Commission and the County of Sacramento Environmental Commission, and is a former board member on the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and past president of the Northern California Chapter of the USGBC.

Adel Hagekhalil
Director
Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services
Biography

Adel Hagekhalil

Director
Los Angeles Bureau of Street Services

Adel Hagekhalil is a registered civil engineer with the State of California and a national Board Certified Environmental Engineer.  Adel is currently the Executive Director and General Manager with the City of Los Angeles’ Bureau of Street Services where he is responsible for managing, maintaining and upgrading the City’s street network including streets, sidewalks, trees and bikeways with focus on safety, mobility and sustainability.  Under his direction, Adel will integrate green infrastructure and multi-benefit elements into the City’s street renewal efforts. Recently, Adel was the Assistant Director for the City’s Bureau of Sanitation where he was responsible for the Bureau’s wastewater collection system management, storm water and watershed protection program, water quality compliance, and facilities and advance planning.  Under his direction, the City has prepared an award winning 2040 One Water LA Plan “One Water” which relies on public input and participation and integrates water supply, water reuse, water conservation and storm water management with wastewater facilities planning through a regional watershed approach.  Adel served for 9 years as Board member and most recently President with the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA).  Adel is currently serving on NACWA’s co-Chair for the Arid States Water Reuse Group and member of the National Water Sector Coordinating Council.

Jeff Kightlinger
General Manager
Metropolitan Water District
Biography

Jeff Kightlinger

General Manager
Metropolitan Water District

Jeffrey Kightlinger is general manager and chief executive officer for The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. The Metropolitan Water District is the largest municipal water provider in the nation delivering an average of over 2 billion gallons of water a day to 19 million customers across Southern California.  Metropolitan serves one out of every two Californians in the six counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura.

Kightlinger was appointed general manager in February 2006.    As general manager, he manages the District’s $1.8 billion annual budget and 1,800 employees to ensure the safe and reliable delivery of high quality water every day throughout Southern California.  He reports to a board of 37 members representing 26 member agencies.

Kightlinger has an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Santa Clara University.  He serves on a number of boards including the Coro Foundation, the USC Price School of Public Policy, the UCLA Sustainability Advisory Board, the Climate Action Reserve, the California Foundation on the Environment and the Economy, the Los Angeles Economic Development Council and the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, among others.

Dean Wiberg
Biography

Dean Wiberg

Ron Nichols
President
Southern California Edison
Biography

Ron Nichols

President
Southern California Edison

Ronald O. Nichols is president of Southern California Edison (SCE). He is responsible for external affairs, compliance, power production and procurement, and other operations. Nichols has more than 35 years of experience in the electric and water utility industry. He has been a strategic and operational advisor to utilities, state and local government, power suppliers and the financial community on complex energy and utility matters throughout the United States, particularly in the West. Previously, Nichols was senior vice president of Regulatory Affairs and Nuclear for SCE, overseeing regulatory policy and affairs, regulatory operations and environmental affairs. Prior to joining SCE in 2014, Nichols served for three years as General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), where he provided leadership for the utility in supplying reliable and competitively priced water and electricity while continuing to maintain and implement environmentally conscious policies and priorities. Previously, Nichols was a managing director at the energy practice of Navigant Consulting, an international consulting organization with over 2,000 employees. From 1980 to 1997, before his position at Navigant, he was a co-founder and Senior Vice President of the energy and water utility consulting firm, Resource Management International, which was headquartered in Sacramento with offices throughout North America and in Europe and Asia. Prior to starting his energy and water utility consulting career in 1980, he held positions with the California Department of Water Resources and the California Energy Commission. Nichols is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with a degree in agricultural economics and business management.

Bob Hertzberg
State Senator
California State Senate
Biography

Bob Hertzberg

State Senator
California State Senate

Robert "Bob" Hertzberg

Robert M. Hertzberg, twice unanimously elected Speaker of the California State Assembly, from 2000 – 2002, is now a State Senator, proudly serving nearly 1 million residents in the San Fernando Valley.  Bob serves on, among others: the Senate Committee on Governance and Finance, the Committee on Energy, Utilities and Communications, and the Committee on Natural Resources and Water, and continues to address the big challenges facing California.

Bob has been an active entrepreneur and leader in global policy on renewable energy.  The Guardian (UK) named him as one of the “50 People Who Could Save the Planet” and his former company won the “World Bank Award, for Lighting Africa,” for a project in Rwanda.

Bob has appeared on CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News, CNN, BBC, Nightline, and has been featured in articles in The Economist, Fortune Small Business, and Financial Times.  In addition, a solar company he was involved with in Los Angeles won the 2005 Wall Street Journal Innovation of the Year Award in the field of energy.

Bob has been to every VerdeExchange Conference & Expo since the beginning, including two in Toronto, Canada.  He’s thrilled to be back for #11!

Mike Wallace
Managing Director
BrownFlynn
Biography

Mike Wallace

Managing Director
BrownFlynn

As Managing Director, Mike is responsible for expanding BrownFlynn’s market penetration across North America, developing new and existing strategic partnerships, providing innovative corporate responsibility and sustainability solutions to clients and helping shape the strategic direction of the Firm. Having helped establish and then direct GRI’s North American operations from 2010 to 2014, Mike was instrumental in driving sustainability reporting across the North American economy.

Mike’s 20 years of international experience in the sustainability field provides BrownFlynn clients and business partners with a global view of the sustainability landscape. Having given expert testimony to the European Commission, U.S. Securities Exchange Commission, Environmental Protection Agency and the General Services Administration, and having presented on the topic of sustainability and reporting at many of events, Mike’s expertise in the field is highly regarded and valued by a wide range of colleagues and organizations.

David Fransen
Chief Strategy Officer
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada
Biography

David Fransen

Chief Strategy Officer
Next Generation Manufacturing Canada

Over his 34-year career, David has served as a senior executive in government, academia and the diplomatic corps. He provided strategic leadership across a wide range of economic policy and program sectors as a senior official at the Privy Council Office and Health Canada, as an Assistant Deputy Minister at Industry Canada, as the first Executive Director of the Institute for Quantum Computing, and as Canada’s Consul General in Los Angeles.

David is also a former Special Advisor to the President of the National Research Council, former Chair of the Waterloo Innovation Summit, and a member of the boards of Waterloo Economic Development Corporation, the Institute for Quantum Computing, and Quantum-Safe Canada. He led in the creation, and then served as a member, of the founding Board of Governors of the Council of Canadian Academies. He also served as a member of the board of directors of Canadian Commercial Corporation, the Standards Council of Canada, and as Secretary of the Minister of Industry Canada’s Expert Panel on Commercialization chaired by Joe Rotman.

David has a PhD from the University of Toronto, a BA and MA from the University of Waterloo, and a Bachelor of Theology from Canadian Mennonite University. He is currently a Fellow of the Public Policy Forum.

Terry O'Day
Chief Strategy Officer and EVP
Innogy eMobility US
Biography

Terry O'Day

Chief Strategy Officer and EVP
Innogy eMobility US

Terry is responsible for innogy e-Mobility US LLC’s US strategy and market development.  The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of innogy SE, Germany’s second largest utility company, providing only renewable energy to the European market and a leading technology provider for the electric vehicle (EV) charging.  

Prior to joining innogy, Terry led product strategy and market development for EVgo, the nation’s largest public fast charging company for electric vehicles (EVs), taking that company from its first public fast charging installation to more than 1,000 and overseeing an investment program of over $140 million, acquiring partnerships with major automakers, energy companies and state governments.  His full responsibilities also included construction and development in the Western US, regulatory and legislative initiatives, marketing, communications, and technology demonstration programs. 

Terry was previously Executive Director of Environment Now foundation, a strategic, entrepreneurial, activist leader in California.  The organization founded dozens of activist environmental organizations protecting air, land and water quality in California and Mexico.  In 2007, Terry cofounded Move LA and developed LA County’s Measure R, which over 67% of voters approved in 2008 and is contributing over $40 billion to transit investment countywide.

Terry began his career with Edison International, where he contributed to founding four businesses in energy, security services, and electric vehicle charging.  He went on to cofound EV Rental Cars, which was the first rental company in the United States to offer only environmental vehicles, such as hybrid, natural gas, and electric cars to the general public.  It served fifteen airports in six states and more than 500,000 customers, with over 700 cars.  Terry has served on various start-up boards and in advisory roles for companies in energy, technology, transportation and infrastructure.

He holds an MBA from The UCLA Anderson School of Management and completed the Coro Public Affairs Fellows Program in Los Angeles. He earned a BA with honors in Public Policy at Stanford University, with a thesis addressing public finance and demand management of electricity.

Terry currently serves as Mayor Pro Tempore for the City of Santa Monica and was first elected in November 2010.  The city serves over 90,000 residents and a daytime population over 300,000, with 1,700 employees and a $700 million annual budget.  Terry led a six-year process to update the City’s General Plan, which became the leading example of environmental land use planning in the state, reducing projected per capita greenhouse gas emissions from land use by 31 percent in 25 years.  He has been active with community organizations throughout California and Mexico; including Waterkeeper Alliance, Coro Southern California; The USC Center for Sustainable Cities, Environmental Entrepreneurs and as the Board Chair of the Coalition for Clean Air.

Zev Yaroslavsky
Director, Los Angeles Initiative
UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy
Biography

Zev Yaroslavsky

Director, Los Angeles Initiative
UCLA Luskin School of Public Policy

During a career in public life spanning nearly four decades, Zev Yaroslavsky has been at the forefront of Los Angeles County’s biggest issues, including transportation, the environment, health care, and cultural arts.  He has been a pioneering advocate for the region’s homeless population and has played a key role in efforts to reform the county’s law enforcement agencies.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was first elected to office in 1975, stunning the political establishment by winning the Los Angeles City Council’s coveted 5th District seat at the age of 26.  He honed his fiscal skills as chairman of the Council’s Finance Committee and earned a reputation for being unafraid to tackle controversial issues, including the Los Angeles Police Department’s use of excessive force and its improper spying on law-abiding residents.  He authored two landmark ballot initiatives, one which cut in half the size of new commercial developments near residential neighborhoods in the City of L.A., and the other which banned oil drilling along the city’s coastline.

In describing Mr. Yaroslavsky’s City Hall tenure, the Los Angeles Times wrote that he “was more often than not a dominant player in virtually every municipal initiative of note since he joined the City Council.”

In 1994, Mr. Yaroslavsky was elected to the five-member Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, representing the western part of the county and a constituency of two million people.  He served five terms as the Board’s Third District representative.  Because of term limits, he retired from office on December 1, 2014.  Supervisor Yaroslavsky’s award-winning website, which ran from late 2009 until the end of his term, including blog entries and feature stories on County issues, programs and personalities, can be accessed here.

As a member of the Board of Supervisors, Mr. Yaroslavsky quickly emerged as a leader on fiscal, health care, transportation, cultural and environmental matters.  He authored several landmark ballot initiatives:  the 1996 park bond, which resulted in the preservation of a broad swath of rural open space and the development of urban parks throughout the county, and the 2002 trauma tax, approved by more than 73% of county voters—a measure credited with saving two public hospitals from closure and keeping the county’s emergency services intact.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was the driving force behind several major transit projects, including the hugely successful Orange Line busway across the San Fernando Valley, the Exposition Light Rail line from downtown to Santa Monica which will be completed at the end of 2015, and the subway—Purple Line—extension from Western Ave. to West Los Angeles which broke ground in 2014.

After the closure of Martin Luther King, Jr. hospital in south Los Angeles, Mr. Yaroslavsky proposed a partnership between the University of California and Los Angeles County upon which the recently re-opened hospital was modeled.  Mr. Yaroslavsky also launched the building of three innovative school-based health clinics in largely working-class neighborhoods where many residents are living below the poverty line and rarely seek medical attention.  He also led the effort to provide permanent supportive housing for thousands of homeless persons who’ve been identified as most likely to die if they remained on county streets.

During his public service career, Mr. Yaroslavsky was the county’s leader in the cultural arts.  The Los Angeles Times said of him before he retired, “It would be hard to find another major politician anywhere in the entire country with Yaroslavsky’s record for outright arts support and achievement.” He championed efforts to rebuild and modernize the world famous Hollywood Bowl amphitheater and was instrumental in the development of architect Frank Gehry’s iconic Walt Disney Concert Hall, home of the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra.  He has also funded major investments in the County Museum of Art, the Museum of Natural History and the San Fernando Valley Performing Arts Center.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is also credited with playing a leading role in the sweeping reforms of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.  He is responsible for the creation of the Citizen’s Commission on Jail Violence in 2011 which recommended dozens of measures to restore constitutional policing and integrity to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and its jails.

Apart from his responsibilities as an elected official, Mr. Yaroslavsky has long been associated with the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a non-governmental organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., that promotes the development of democratic institutions in burgeoning democracies.  He has monitored five elections for NDI:  Romania (1990), Mexico (2000), Ukraine (2004), and Nigeria (2011 & 2015).  He has conducted seminars on local government finance and democratic institution-building in Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Bosnia/Herzegovina.

Mr. Yaroslavsky is now the Director of the Los Angeles Initiative at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs and the Department of History, focusing on the intersection of policy, politics and history of the Los Angeles region.

Mr. Yaroslavsky was born and raised in Los Angeles and earned an M.A. in British Imperial History and a B.A. in Economics and History, both from UCLA.  He is a graduate of Fairfax High School in Los Angeles.

Varun Sivaram
Philip D. Reed Fellow
Council on Foreign Relations
Biography

Varun Sivaram

Philip D. Reed Fellow
Council on Foreign Relations

Varun Sivaram is the Philip D. Reed fellow for science and technology at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, a nonresident fellow at the Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy, and a member of the advisory boards for the Stanford University Woods Institute for the Environment and Precourt Institute for Energy. Forbes named him one of the 30 under 30 in Law and Policy, Grist selected him as one of the top 50 leaders in sustainability, and Klout ranked him as one of the top 5 global thought leaders on solar energy. He is the author of the book, Taming the Sun: Innovations to Harness Solar Energy and Power the Planet (MIT University Press, March 2018). 

Dr. Sivaram also serves as strategic advisor to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Reforming the Energy Vision, and he was formerly a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he counseled Fortune 500 companies on adapting to the modern competitive landscape in energy. Prior to this role, he served as senior advisor for energy and water policy to the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and oversaw the city’s Department of Water and Power. 

Dr. Sivaram’s work has appeared in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial TimesForeign Affairs, the Journal of Applied Physics, the Journal of Physical ChemistryNatureNature EnergyNature Climate ChangeScientific American, and Issues in Science and Technology. He has also given talks around the world, including at the Aspen Ideas Festival and World Economic Forum. A Truman and a Rhodes scholar, he holds degrees from Stanford University in engineering physics and international relations, with honors in international security. Dr. Sivaram holds a PhD in condensed matter physics from St. John’s College, Oxford University, where he developed third-generation solar photovoltaic coatings for building-integrated applications. He lives in Washington, DC.

Cecilia Estolano
Co-Founder
Estolano LeSar Advisors
Biography

Cecilia Estolano

Co-Founder
Estolano LeSar Advisors

Cecilia V. Estolano is a foremost expert on contemporary urban planning issues ranging from economic and workforce development to land use, environmental equity and urban revitalization for cities and communities across the country.

During her nearly 30-year career, she has worked directly with public, private, institutional and non-profit clients to plan, finance, design, implement and operate policy-driven programs and projects that promote sustainable solutions tailored for each community.

Cecilia is President of the California Community College Board of Governors, and has served on the California Coastal Commission and many other boards and commissions. She received her A.B. from Harvard-Radcliffe Colleges, M.A. in Urban Planning from UCLA and J.D. from UC Berkeley.

Prior to founding Estolano LeSar Advisors in 2011, Cecilia served as CEO of CRA/LA; practiced land use and environmental law while Of Counsel at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher; Senior Policy Advisor at the U.S. EPA during the Clinton Administration, and as Environmental Policy Advisor to former L.A. Mayor Tom Bradley.

Estolano LeSar Advisors is an award-winning urban planning and public policy firm. We work with public agencies, non-profits, philanthropies, and businesses to craft innovative solutions to address complex problems.

Mark Ridley-Thomas
Supervisor, 2nd District
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors
Biography

Mark Ridley-Thomas

Supervisor, 2nd District
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors

Since he was overwhelmingly elected in 2008 and reelected in 2012 and 2016 to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, Mark Ridley-Thomas has distinguished himself as a strong advocate for more than two million Second District residents. He presently serves as Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, President of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission and a member of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

He has promoted the District’s interests on a variety of fronts, including transportation, job creation and retention, and local hiring. In the area of health policy, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has overseen the construction of the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Hospital, as well as a network of cutting-edge health care facilities throughout the District. He has facilitated the use of technology and encouraged an integrated approach to wellness that includes mental health care and a prominent role for school-based clinics. His advocacy has helped secure an equitable share of funding for public-private partnership health clinics in underserved areas.

Prior to his election to the Board of Supervisors, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas served the 26th District in the California State Senate where he chaired the Senate’s Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development. He served as Chair of the California Legislative Black Caucus in 2008 and led the Caucus in unprecedented levels of cooperation and collaboration with counterparts in the Latino and Asian-Pacific Islander Legislative Caucuses.

Mark Ridley-Thomas was first elected to public office in 1991 and served with distinction on the Los Angeles City Council for nearly a dozen years, departing as Council President pro Tempore. He later served two terms in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Assembly Democratic Caucus. His legislative work addressed a broad range of issues with implications for economic and workforce development, health care, public safety, education, budget accountability, consumer protection and civic participation.

He is widely regarded as the foremost advocate of neighborhood participation in government decision-making. By virtue of his founding of the Empowerment Congress, arguably the region’s most successful 24-year experiment in neighborhood-based civic engagement, he is considered the founder of the Neighborhood Council movement.

Ridley-Thomas’ political career was preceded by a decade of service as executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Los Angeles, which followed a brief but successful five-year stint as a high school teacher.

The Supervisor is a graduate of Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles and earned a baccalaureate degree in Social Relations with a minor in Government and a master’s degree in Religious Studies with a concentration in Christian ethics from Immaculate Heart College. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas went on to receive his Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the University of Southern California focusing on Social Criticism and Social Change.

He is married to Avis Ridley-Thomas, Co-Founder and Director of the Institute for Non-Violence in Los Angeles. They are the proud parents of Sinclair and Sebastian, both Morehouse Men. Sinclair recently earned an MBA degree at USC’s Marshall School of Business, works in the investment banking industry, and resides with his wife Shaunicie, an attorney, in San Francisco. Sebastian is a member of the California State Assembly representing the 54th District, which includes Southwest Los Angeles, Culver City, Century City and Westwood.

Bill Allen
President and CEO
LAEDC
Biography

Bill Allen

President and CEO
LAEDC

Bill Allen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and its subsidiary, the World Trade Center Los Angeles. Mr. Allen is also Co-Chair of the California Stewardship Network, a Vice Chair of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and a member of the Board of Directors of the Weingart Foundation, Regional Economic Association Leaders of California Coalition, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, FilmL.A., Unite L.A., and Sister Cities of Los Angeles.

Active in regional economic development for more than twenty years, Mr. Allen was the first CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley from 1996-2000, and in 2000 was named California’s Civic Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Center for Regional Leadership.

Mr. Allen has served as a trustee of the University of Southern California, chair of the Creative Arts Emmy Awards for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, Chair of Film LA, and cochair of the “Shaping Tomorrow” capital campaign for the Valley Presbyterian Hospital, on whose board he served for fifteen years.

Mr. Allen was previously a television network and studio executive with nearly twenty years experience in entertainment production and management, where he supervised the development and production of hundreds of episodes of network, syndicated and cable television, as well as several highly rated TV movies and specials.

A cum laude graduate of the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California in 1979, Mr. Allen also received his Masters Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 1983.

Gary Gero
Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles County
Biography

Gary Gero

Chief Sustainability Officer
Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors appointed Gary Gero to be the County’s first Chief Sustainability Officer in November 2016.  His duties include: building and launching the largest community choice energy program in California; creating a countywide sustainability plan that addresses regional environmental, economic, and equity issues; and serving as the key environmental advisor to the Board of Supervisors.

Gary previously served as the President of the Climate Action Reserve, a nonprofit organization headquartered in Los Angeles and operating across North America.  He now serves as the Vice-Chair on its Board of Directors. He has also served on the CFTC’s Energy and Environmental Markets Committee, the board of California Invasive Plant Council, and the Glendale City Planning Commission.

Gary’s career includes many years in local government including having served as the Assistant General Manager for the City of Los Angeles Environmental Affairs Department.  He also worked for several years at the LADWP where he oversaw energy efficiency, renewable energy, and distributed generation programs.

Gary earned his Master's degree from the London School of Economics and his undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Berkeley.

Allan Emkin
Founder and Managing Director
Pension Consulting Alliance
Biography

Allan Emkin

Founder and Managing Director
Pension Consulting Alliance

Allan Emkin founded Pension Consulting Alliance, Inc. in 1988, with offices in Los Angeles, New York City, and Portland, Oregon.

Long a member of the consulting community, Mr. Emkin has 32 years of general consulting experience emphasizing public plan administration and investment policy, as well as international, global, and real estate investments. 

Mr. Emkin was a Vice President at Wilshire Associates before forming PCA in 1988.  Prior to his work in the consulting field, Mr. Emkin worked in the California Governor’s office in the Pension Investment Unit.  Before joining the Brown administration, he was a registered lobbyist for 10 years specializing in affordable housing and other matters affecting low-income families.

Mr. Emkin is a frequent speaker at various conferences and educational seminars and has long standing relationships with Liberty Hill Foundation in Santa Monica, California as well as The Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard University.

Lauren Faber O'Connor
Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles
Biography

Lauren Faber O'Connor

Chief Sustainability Officer
City of Los Angeles

Lauren Faber is the Chief Sustainability Officer for the City of Los Angeles. In her role as Deputy CSO she drove the implementation of the Sustainable City pLAn, released in April 2015, which puts forth an actionable vision for transforming LA's environment, economy and equity. Working across every city department, Lauren focuses on strategic integration of the pLAn's pillars in order to reach the City's ambitious climate and clean energy goals, ensure benefits accrue to all communities in LA, and pursue regional and international collaborations. Prior to joining the Garcetti Administration, Lauren served for four years as the West Coast Political Director for the Environmental Defense Fund in San Francisco. At EDF she worked on building successful strategies and constructive partnerships to win support on innovative approaches to protecting and promoting climate, clean energy, land, water and wildlife. In 2010 Lauren was appointed to Assistant Secretary for Climate Change Programs at the California Environmental Protection Agency, where she was dedicated to the design and implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act. Prior to her work at CalEPA, Lauren served as senior director for Lighthouse Consulting Group in Washington, D.C., where she advised on comprehensive national climate change and energy strategies for domestic and international companies, and non-government organizations, and in particular, the U.S. Climate Action Partnership. From 2005-2009 Lauren served at the British Embassy as the Senior Policy Advisor for climate change and energy.

Lauren sits on the Board of the California League of Conservation Voters, is a member of the Catto Fellowship for environmental leadership at the Aspen Institute, and a member of the Truman National Security Project Political Partnership. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Earth Systems and Economics from Stanford University, and Master’s degree in Climate and Society from Columbia University.

Jerry Meral
Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency
Biography

Jerry Meral

Former Deputy Secretary
California Natural Resources Agency

Dr. Gerald (Jerry) Meral is the director of the California Water Program at the Natural Heritage Institute.  He works on funding for California water, Delta infrastructure, and a variety of other California water programs.  He formerly served as Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources, Deputy Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, Executive Director of the Planning and Conservation Director, and Staff Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund.  He has placed 9 initiatives on the California statewide ballot, and has been involved in many statewide ballot measures affecting California water, parks, wildlife, health, and transportation.  He has a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of California, Berkeley.  He serves as the campaign director of the Water Supply and Water Quality Initiative Bond Act of November 2018 campaign.

Jeremy Davies, OBE
Senior Advisor
VerdeXchange
Biography

Jeremy Davies, OBE

Senior Advisor
VerdeXchange

Formerly a Managing Partner in the Assurance and Business Advisory Services of PwC, Jeremy Davies has more than 30 years of experience of serving American, Japanese, European and Brazilian global and middle market and emerging companies across a wide range of industries, including power generation and alternative energy. Jeremy was Co-Chairman of the U.S. firm's Japan Business Network (JBN) Steering Committee and led the automotive sector practice in the West Region of the United States.

Jeremy is former National Chairman and President of the British American Business Council, the largest transatlantic business association; former Executive Committee member of the European Union Center of California; is a member of the Board of Governors of the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation, its World Trade Committee (serves on its sub-Committee on Foreign Direct Investment), its Green Economy and e-Mobility Task Forces. He is Senior Advisor to the VerdeXchange Institute, an organization dedicated to supporting Los Angeles County as a global marketplace for renewable and clean energy technologies and as a portal of entry into the US market.

Mr Davies is a member (retired) of the California Society of Certified Public Accountants, the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, is qualified as a Brazilian Certified Public Accountant and has a BSc degree from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He is a member of the Board of Directors of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for foster children in Los Angeles County) and Chairs its Corporate Outreach Initiative.

In 2014 he was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to British business interests in the USA. 

Jack Baylis
President and CEO
The Baylis Group
Biography

Jack Baylis

President and CEO
The Baylis Group
Mike Rosenfeld
Vice Consul - Senior Advisor for Energy, Environment & Infrastructure
UK Department for International Trade, British Consulate General-Los Angeles
Biography

Mike Rosenfeld

Vice Consul - Senior Advisor for Energy, Environment & Infrastructure
UK Department for International Trade, British Consulate General-Los Angeles
Mike Rosenfeld is Vice-Consul with UK Trade & Investment, the UK Government’s international business development agency, in the British Consulate-General, Los Angeles. He serves as senior advisor in the USA for Energy, Environment & Infrastructure and has significant expertise in renewable energy and environmental technologies. Mr. Rosenfeld also serves as a member of the UK’s Climate Change team addressing global warming solutions in the US. As a team leader of commercial officers in the USA, he represents UK Plc. across a range of industry sectors by identifying inward investment opportunities among American companies seeking to expand into the UK and supporting British companies, exporting technologies, products, and services into the US, as well as identifying joint venture and other partnership opportunities.
 
In addition to serving as US lead officer for the Clean Technology sector, Mr. Rosenfeld has been a corporate investment, marketing and business development executive in Los Angeles for the past 25 years. He established AM Venture Partners, a venture capital and investment firm, in Los Angeles in 1999. Mr. Rosenfeld has raised capital for, served as a director on corporate boards, and represented national and international companies in the environmental, energy, engineering, maritime, telecommunications and healthcare sectors. He also has served in senior-level executive management positions with two global environmental engineering, construction and technology firms. Mr. Rosenfeld began his career as a journalist in Los Angeles in 1978. He continues to write occasionally, contributing to a number of environmental, energy, maritime and engineering publications.
George Minter
Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company
Biography

George Minter

Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy
Southern California Gas Company

George Minter is currently Regional Vice President for External Affairs and Environmental Strategy for SoCalGas, the nation’s largest gas utility. He is responsible for the Company’s public affairs, community relations, and energy and environmental affairs functions. 

He’s been a long time public policy professional specializing in energy and environmental matters, policy development, communications and political advocacy. Previously, he’s been a managing principal for LA-based public affairs consulting firms, Greer/Dailey/Minter and GM Public Affairs, handling approvals for large energy and land use projects.  He began his career as a political consultant managing local, state and national political campaigns.

George has served as a board member of numerous civic associations and community organizations, has been the recipient of several awards and honors, and has been a regular speaker at state and national conferences on energy and environmental policy. 

He’s the father of two grown children, is married, and lives in Pasadena, California; and is a Phi Beta Kappa and Honors graduate of the University of California at Berkeley.

Joe Edmiston
Executive Director
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
Biography

Joe Edmiston

Executive Director
Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy

Joseph Edmiston was appointed Executive Director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy by Governor Jerry Brown in 1979. Under his leadership, the Conservancy has preserved over 60,000 acres of public parkland within and surrounding the Los Angeles Metropolitan region, in a zone extending from the edge of the Mojave Desert to the Pacific Ocean. From north to south, these areas drain into the Santa Clara River, Calleguas Creek, numerous smaller coastal watersheds in the Santa Monica Mountains, and the Los Angeles River and Rio Hondo. Joe has lectured extensively on environmental planning, park development, and urban land use. He and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, have been the recipient of numerous national awards including, most recently, the highest honor of the National Planning Association, the Daniel Burnham Award.

Martha Welborne
Senior Advisor
HR&A
Biography

Martha Welborne

Senior Advisor
HR&A

Martha Welborne is a nationally-recognized leader in urban development. Her exceptional career as a civic and organizational change-maker has spanned the country, with a focus on complex development and mobility management in Los Angeles. With experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, Martha has spearheaded some of Los Angeles’ most innovative public transportation and revitalization projects in recent history—including the installation of the county’s first rapid bus lines and the redevelopment of the Grand Avenue corridor.

Prior to joining HR&A, Martha was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Real Estate for the Walt Disney Company, where she oversaw all corporate real estate development, design, construction; asset and portfolio management; and facilities support and services. From 2010-2016, Martha served as the Chief Planning Officer at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). Responsible for planning the long-range mobility future of the county, Martha led a staff of more than 200 to accelerate the delivery of voter-approved projects funded by Measure R and execute strategic initiatives, such as the Master Plan of the historic Union Station property. From 2001-2011, Martha was the Managing Director of the Grand Avenue Committee, a public/private initiative involving both the City and County of Los Angeles to spur cultural and mixed-use private development on Bunker Hill in downtown Los Angeles, including the redevelopment of Grand Park.

Martha began her career as an architect and planner, working on both individual building design and large-scale projects as an associate partner of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP and a principal of Sasaki Associates, Inc. She has served on the board of the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority and as President of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. Martha is a former member of MIT’s Visiting Committee for the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, the Board of the Community Foundation Land Trust, and the Board of Councilors for USC’s School of Architecture and for KUSC.

In addition to her role as Senior Advisor at HR&A, Martha will also serve as Project Director of LA Aerial Rapid Transit Technologies, LLC, the first permanent public transit link to Dodger’s Stadium since it was built nearly 60 years ago.

Martha earned a Bachelor’s degree in Architecture from the University of Notre Dame, and Master’s degrees in both Architecture and City Planning from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was also a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design and is a member of the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Architects.

Michael George
Delta Watermaster
State of California
Biography

Michael George

Delta Watermaster
State of California

Michael Patrick George was appointed to a four-year term as Delta Watermaster beginning in January, 2015.  The position of Delta Watermaster was created by the 2009 Delta Reform legislation.  The Delta Watermaster is an independent officer of the State reporting jointly to the State Water Resources Control Board and the Delta Stewardship Council.  The Watermaster has statutory responsibility for administering water rights within the Sacramento/San Joaquin River Delta.  Additionally, the Delta Watermaster advises the Board and the Council on related water rights, water quality and water operations in and affecting the Delta, which is, simultaneously, a critical estuarine habitat, a vital agricultural area, and the hub of California’s water infrastructure.

Prior to starting his term, Mr. George was active in western water law and policy as a water lawyer, as the CEO of a publicly traded water resource management company, as a senior executive of an investor owned water company and as an investment banker serving both public and private entities in the water industry.  He is an honors graduate of The University of Notre Dame where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and of the Georgetown University Law Center where he was an editor of Law and Policy in International Business.  Mr. George has lectured on California water resource issues at the University of California San Diego, the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley.  He is a member of the California Bar.

Catherine Reheis-Boyd
President
Western States Petroleum Association
Biography

Catherine Reheis-Boyd

President
Western States Petroleum Association

Catherine Reheis-Boyd has served as the President of the Western States Petroleum Association (WSPA) since January 1, 2010. She oversees the trade organization’s operations and advocacy in five Western states – California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington, and Oregon. Over her 27 year career at WSPA, Ms. Reheis-Boyd has held a variety of leadership roles, including a 2003 appointment as Chief of Staff and subsequent promotions to Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. Prior to joining WSPA, Ms. Reheis-Boyd was with Getty Oil and Texaco working on environmental compliance at the Kern River Field in Bakersfield, California.

She currently manages a broad range of Association activities, including legislative and regulatory issues associated with transportation fuels policy, air and water quality, climate change, renewable fuels and alternative energy issues, crude oil and natural gas production and many other issues in WSPA’s five states, and beyond those borders into Canada and abroad.

In 2004, Ms. Reheis-Boyd was appointed by the California Resource Secretary to the California Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Blue Ribbon Task Force to an eight-year term. The MLPA is charged with protecting ocean resources off the California coastline from Oregon to Mexico. In addition, Ms. Reheis-Boyd was appointed to the National Marine Protected Areas Center’s Federal Advisory Committee which recommends strategies to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the United States Department of Interior on how to strengthen and protect the nation’s systems of Marine Protected Areas. Ms. Reheis-Boyd is a member of, or advisor to, a number of climate change policy panels and regulatory agencies in all five WSPA states.

In 2016, Ms. Reheis-Boyd was named Distinguished Woman and Petroleum Advocate of the Year by the California Latino Leadership Institute.

Ms. Reheis-Boyd received her Bachelors of Science degree in Natural Resource Management from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and pursued postgraduate studies in environmental engineering at the University of Southern California.

The Western States Petroleum Association represents major integrated petroleum companies, independent refiners and oil and natural gas producers that explore for, produce, transport, refine and market petroleum, petroleum products, and natural gas as well as advanced alternative and renewable transportation fuels in the West. On behalf of the industry, WSPA works to encourage public policies that promote socially and environmentally responsible economic growth and prosperity.

Mike Levin
Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives
Biography

Mike Levin

Congressman, California's 49th District
US House of Representatives

For the last two decades, Mike has been involved in a variety of local, state and federal political campaigns and community organizations.

Mike is a passionate believer in clean energy and has over a decade of experience in the industry, helping to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable power generation and transportation options. Mike has served for several years on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, based in San Diego, and co-founded Sustain OC in Orange County. For his work in clean energy, Mike was named to the OC METRO 40 under 40.

Mike sits on the board of the Center for Sustainable Energy, and is also a co-founder and board member of CleanTech OC, Orange County’s clean technology trade association, where he served as the initial executive director.

Previously, he was part of the management team at a venture-funded clean tech startup.  Prior to industry, Mike worked as an attorney at Bryan Cave LLP, where he assisted clients with environmental and energy regulatory compliance, project development, and government advocacy.

Mike lives in San Juan Capistrano with his wife, Chrissy, a graduate of the University of Arizona and Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, and their two children, ages 6 and 4.

Evan Birenbaum
Managing Partner
Valkyrie Security Group
Biography

Evan Birenbaum

Managing Partner
Valkyrie Security Group

Prior to joining Valkyrie Security Group, Evan was the program manager for Environmental Strategy and Sustainability at Southern California Edison (SCE), where he was responsible for the development, strategy, and implementation of SCE’s corporate responsibility and sustainability program. He worked with company executives, business managers, regulators, NGO’s, and internal and external stakeholders to identify and prioritize emerging issues in order to address challenges related to climate change, water impact, habitat protection and biodiversity, and energy and water availability. He has been partly responsible for Edison’s charitable contributions in the area of environmental giving. 

Mark Sadovnick
Managing Director
Stanton Chase International
Biography

Mark Sadovnick

Managing Director
Stanton Chase International

Having built a reputation over 30 years for looking beyond the mechanics of executive search, Mark has a proven commitment and ability to make a difference with Management, the individual candidates and their families, ensuring the mutual “right fit”.  Recognized by Business Week as one of 150 most influential search consultants in the world, Mark gained business and international awareness from his experiences with Deloitte in Canada and Jaycees International.

 

Mark has worked with many large and middle-market companies, as well as start-ups, advising what it takes to be recognized as a preferred employer and how innovative recruitment of exceptional management candidates will impact their financial results as well as the organization’s reputation and image. His background in finance has given him the advantage of being able to attract the right fit CFO’s and other quality financial management to join and benefit his clients.                                                          

 

Mark proactively introduces and recommends clients and strategic partners to each other, for mutual benefit of all resources. With extensive cross-industry, international experience and relationships, he recognizes the value of understanding and respecting cultures, languages, and the impact on people and business. “It’s all about people, inclusion and trust, to create a winning team.”

 

Mark sits on the Boards of Million Peacemakers (“Nonflict”), World Language Communications, the Hidden Tears Project and VerdeXchange Institute. He has been involved in many Sports & Entertainment projects, including SportsFund, and owning professional cycling and roller hockey teams. Mark is a Chartered Accountant, graduating from McGill University in Montreal. 

Jessica Fox
Senior Program Manager
Electric Power Research Institute
Biography

Jessica Fox

Senior Program Manager
Electric Power Research Institute

Fox is a Senior Program Manager at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), where she manages EPRI’s $15 million Water & Ecosystems research area.  She is an expert in environmental markets and “credit stacking,” ecosystem services, and corporate sustainability. Fox created the EPRI Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Project, which is the world’s first interstate trading program for nutrients (http://wqt.epri.com) and won the United States Water Prize in 2015. Fox led EPRI’s Energy Sustainability Interest Group from 2011 through 2016 to become the largest collaborative forum in the industry to strategically advance critical issues related to the sustainable generation and distribution of electricity, including consensus by 45 utilities on sustainability metrics to use to benchmark their companies’ performance (www.epri.com/sustainability). Fox launched EPRI’s internal corporate social responsibility program in 2016 under EPRI’s Chief Sustainability Officer and CEO, with oversight from EPRI’s Board of Directors. In 2017, Fox was recognized as Top Innovator (The Fantastic Forty) by Public Utilities Fortnightly.  In 2018, Ms. Fox launched the EPRI Power-in-Pollinators Initiative (http://www.epri.com/pollinators), which is set to be the largest effort in North America focused specifically on pollinator conservation at electric power companies.  Her projects have been covered by the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, National Public Radio, Bloomberg, and others. She is a trained meeting facilitator and conflict resolution mediator, a member of the United States Ecological Society of America, and a Certified Habitat Steward by the National Wildlife Federation.  Prior to EPRI, she worked as a molecular biologist leading conservation genetics projects on dragonflies in Costa Rica, at Stanford University sequencing and mapping the human genome, and as a manager at a biotech company developing DNA analysis technologies.  She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of California, Davis, and a Master’s of Science degree from Stanford University. 

Sara Neff
Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Kilroy Realty Corporation
Biography

Sara Neff

Senior Vice President, Sustainability
Kilroy Realty Corporation

Sara Neff is Senior Vice President, Sustainability at Kilroy Realty Corporation. In her first four years, Sara took Kilroy from having no sustainability program to being named the #1 office real estate company on sustainability in North America by GRESB, an honor they have now won for four straight years, and Kilroy is now only the third American real estate company to be listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. At Kilroy, she oversees all sustainability initiatives such as solar and battery dealmaking, the implementation of energy and water efficiency initiatives throughout the existing and development portfolios, the integration of sustainability standards into annual financial reports, the launch of the Kilroy Innovation Lab, and the award-winning green leasing program.

She holds a BS from Stanford and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Dr. Kelly Sanders
Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California
Biography

Dr. Kelly Sanders

Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California

Dr. Kelly T. Sanders is an Assistant Professor in the University of Southern California’s Sonny Astani Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Her research aims to ease tensions between human and natural systems through technical, regulatory and market intervention, with particular emphasis on reducing the environmental impacts of providing energy and water services.

She has authored more than two dozen publications and has given dozens of invited talks on topics at the intersection of engineering, science, and policy. Sanders has been recognized in Forbes’ 30 under 30 in Energy and MIT Technology Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35 for her contributions to the energy field. Her research and commentary have been featured in media outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal and Scientific American.

Sanders received her B.S. in Bioengineering from the Pennsylvania State University, as well M.S.E and Ph.D. degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, respectively. She teaches classes related to energy and the environment.

Christine Harada
President
i(x) investments
Biography

Christine Harada

President
i(x) investments

Christine Harada is President of i(x) investments. Ms. Harada has over 20 years of success in leading government and management consulting organizations. She previously served as the Federal Chief Sustainability Officer for the United States during the Obama administration. In this role, she provided oversight for all sustainability-related initiatives across the federal government in energy, fleet, and acquisitions-game-changing improvements that added to our nation’s clean energy future.

Her successes include developing and implementing policies to reduce the Federal government’s carbon footprint that resulted in an 18% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, a 23% reduction in energy use at Federal facilities and 177 billion gallons of drinkable water saved. She also was responsible for investing $4B in federal building to improve aging infrastructure and lower overall energy consumption that led to an estimated 33,700 private sector jobs and resulted in efficiency gains that will save 1.4 million tons of CO2 emissions annually.

Prior to her White House role, Ms. Harada was the Acting Chief of Staff and U.S. General Services Administration where she was responsible for the overall operations supporting 12,000 federal workers with an annual operating budget of $26B. While at the GSA, Ms. Harada also served as Associate Administrator, Government-wide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer responsible for transforming a “business model” to provide more proactive, evidence-based policies, and increased transparency at the agency.

She has extensive expertise in business strategy and translating that into operational excellence. Concurrently, she is a Fellow with the Los Angeles CleanTech Incubator. In addition, she is a member of the board of directors of Novume Solutions and the Millennium Institute.

She previously was a Partner with Ridge-Lane LP, a strategic advisory firm and merchant-bank. Ridge-Lane LP is a triple-bottom-line business that creates sustainable social value by bridging the gap that exists between private companies, investment capital, and government – across the Federal, State, and Local levels.

Ms. Harada’s private sector experience also includes serving as Global Manager, Transformation/Large Scale Change Practice at the Boston Consulting Group where which she was responsible for the operations and go-to-market strategy of the then-new practice area that spanned 78 offices around the world. While at Booz Allen Hamilton, Ms. Harada was a Principal with P&L responsibility for a 70+ person professional services business line with a $70M portfolio of projects.

Ms. Harada holds an MA, International Studies and an MBA, Finance, respectively, from the Lauder Institute and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. She also holds an MS Aeronautics/Astronautics and a BS Aeronautics/Astronautics, respectively, from Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Earl Blumenauer
Congressman, Oregon's 3rd District
US House of Representatives
Biography

Earl Blumenauer

Congressman, Oregon's 3rd District
US House of Representatives

Earl Blumenauer was born and raised in Portland, Oregon, and has been a life-long resident of Oregon's 3rd Congressional District.

Through his years as a local official in the Oregon Legislature, Multnomah County Commission, and Portland’s City Council, Earl developed a national reputation for his advocacy of public transportation, land use planning, protection of the environment, and school funding.

Elected to Congress in 1996, Blumenauer has been a champion for cleaning up America’s most polluted sites and has introduced legislation to reinstate the federal Superfund tax. He is also a leader in public lands protection, in particular for protecting Oregon’s crown jewels such as Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. He is the former Vice Chair for the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and has strongly defended the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act, as well as EPA’s ability to regulate greenhouse gases in the fight against climate change. Blumenauer has also led an initiative to reform federal flood insurance policies by protecting environmentally sensitive and disaster prone areas from development, and modernizing the policies of the US Army Corps of Engineers.  His environmental priorities are geared towards helping the federal government be a better partner to local communities in improving and sustaining the health of our land and water.

Blumenauer currently sits on the Ways and Means Committee. 

Timothy McOsker
CEO
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles
Biography

Timothy McOsker

CEO
AltaSea at the Port of Los Angeles

Timothy B. McOsker is a lifelong San Pedro resident and an attorney with over three decades of experience in government, regulatory and land development matters.  Tim has had a long history of serving San Pedro, the city of Los Angeles and the State of California in numerous leadership roles, including as chief of staff for former Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn and as Hahn’s Chief Deputy City Attorney.  Before serving in the City of Los Angeles, Tim served as City Attorney to various jurisdictions in Southern California. 

Prior to being appointed CEO on Feb. 1, 2018, Tim represented AltaSea in critical legal matters including the 2017 lease renegotiations with the Port of Los Angeles. His deep experience in land development, environmental issues, permitting, municipal law, and contracts will be crucial as AltaSea embarks on an ambitious next stage of expansion and development of its 35 acre campus.

Tim is currently the chairman of the board of the San Pedro Chamber of Commerce and a board member of Harbor Interfaith Services. McOsker is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and UCLA School of Law.

Stephen Cheung
President
World Trade Center Los Angeles
Biography

Stephen Cheung

President
World Trade Center Los Angeles

Stephen Cheung is the President of World Trade Center Los Angeles (WTCLA).  The WTCLA works to support the development of international trade and business opportunities for Southern California companies as the leading international trade association, trade service organization and trade resource in the Los Angeles region.

Prior to his current role, Cheung was the Secretary General for Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and was responsible for managing policies and programs related to the Port of Los Angeles, Los Angeles World Airports, International Affairs and Global Trade.  Cheung served on the Board of Director of the Los Angeles Regional Export Council and the Los Angeles Business Council, and was the lead organizer for Mayor Garcetti’s international trade missions to Mexico, China, Korea and Japan.

Concurrently, Cheung was the Director of International Trade for the Port of Los Angeles – the busiest container port in North America, and was responsible for developing programs to increase trade through the Port of Los Angeles, and facilitate goods movement through the Southern California region.

Cheung joined the Port of Los Angeles and Mayor Garcetti’s Office after serving as Managing Director of International Trade and Clean Technology for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  He was responsible for enhancing international trade opportunities for Los Angeles-based companies, and expanding the city’s role as a leader in international trade, entertainment, tourism, manufacturing and professional services.  Cheung implemented the city’s strategic plan to make Los Angeles a global capital of clean technology by building the infrastructure to support research, development and manufacturing with key partners such as the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator and Port Tech LA. In this position, Cheung served as the City of L.A.’s lead organizer for the historic visit to Los Angeles by Chinese President, Xi Jinping in 2012.

A proud Angeleno, Cheung was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Los Angeles where he received both his bachelor’s in Psychobiology and master’s in Social Welfare from UCLA.  Cheung served on the Advisory Councils of UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs, LMU’s Center for International Business Education and the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator.

Laura Friedman
Assemblymember, 43rd District; Chair, Assembly Natural Resources Committee
California State Legislature
Biography

Laura Friedman

Assemblymember, 43rd District; Chair, Assembly Natural Resources Committee
California State Legislature

Laura Friedman was elected to the California State Assembly in November 2016 to represent the 43rd Assembly District which encompasses the cities of Burbank, Glendale, and La Cañada Flintridge, as well as the communities of La Crescenta and Montrose, and the Los Angeles neighborhoods of Atwater Village, Beachwood Canyon, Los Feliz, East Hollywood, Franklin Hills, and Silver Lake.

Laura has been a prominent figure in the community and taken on leadership roles in a variety of areas; as a small business owner, film and television producer, Mayor and City Councilmember, and on several boards and advocacy committees.

Laura got her start in the private sector working as a film and television executive and producer after receiving her B.A. from the University of Rochester, New York.  In 2001, she launched her own web-based small business.  Building on her years of community service, she was elected to the Glendale City Council in 2009, served as Mayor from 2011-2012 and was re-elected in 2013.

Laura has been active in local government for years, working to build a more sustainable future for all communities. She served for seven years on the Board of Directors of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. She is a Past President of the Independent Cities Association, was a Hollywood-Burbank Airport Commissioner, and a Board Member of the Southern California Association of Governments where she was a member of the Energy and Environment Committee. Laura also spent five yea rs on the Glendale Design Review Board.

She has long been recognized as a steadfast advocate for the environment and the arts community.  Laura was honored in 2014 with the Los Angeles League of Conservation Voters’ Smith-Weiss Environmental Champion Award, and has been active with both the Society of Architectural Historians and the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee.

Her work in the private sector and activism in the community have shaped her work in Sacramento.  In her first term in the Assembly, Laura has authored a package of bills to encourage water conservation, strengthen environmental sustainability, improve access to higher education and health care, and create new avenues for communities to tackle the affordable housing crisis.  In early 2017, she was appointed the Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  Laura also serves as a member of the Assembly Committees on Appropriations; Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism, and Internet Media; Transportation; Rules; and Water, Parks, and Wildlife.

Laura is a Glendale resident and lives with her husband Guillaume Lemoine, a landscape designer, and their daughter Rachel.

Seleta Reynolds
General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation
Biography

Seleta Reynolds

General Manager
Los Angeles Department of Transportation

Seleta Reynolds is General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT) appointed by the Administration of Mayor Eric Garcetti.  Ms. Reynolds is responsible for implementing Great Streets for Los Angeles, a plan to reduce traffic fatalities, double the number of people riding bikes, and expand access to integrated transportation choices for Angelinos and the region.

Ms. Reynolds has over 18 years of transportation experience throughout the United States. She has advised transportation technology companies like WalkScore, contributed to the state-of-the-practice as an Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals Board Member, mentored young professionals through Women’s Transportation Seminar, and nurtured research on Transportation Research Board committees.  Ms. Reynolds serves as the President of the National Association for City Transportation Officials.

The Department of Transportation leads transportation planning, design, construction, maintenance and operations within the City of Los Angeles. We work together and partner with other agencies to improve safe, accessible transportation services and infrastructure in the city and region.

Renata Simril
President and CEO
LA84 Foundation
Biography

Renata Simril

President and CEO
LA84 Foundation

Renata Simril is President and CEO of the LA84 Foundation (www.LA84.org).  Formed in 1985, originally as the Amateur Athletic Foundation, the LA84 Foundation (“LA84” or the “Foundation”) is a legacy of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Summer Games.  The LA84 Foundation transforms lives through its investment in youth sport programs, infrastructure, research, and education across eight Counties of Southern California, and is a national leader in elevating the role that sports play in positive youth development.

Ms. Simril is an accomplished civic and private sector trailblazer with more than 20 years of diversified experience with a commitment to leadership and service.  She most recently served as Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff to the Publisher of the Los Angeles Times, where she oversaw staff operations and special projects.  Her earlier career included three seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where she served as Senior Vice President of External Affairs overseeing the restoration of the Dodgers brand and the Dodgers Foundation; and over a decade in real estate development with Jones Lang LaSalle, Forest City Development and LCOR, Inc.  Her public service included stints as Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Housing in the Hahn Administration, where she worked to expand rental and affordable housing in Los Angeles, and as a Development Deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, where she worked to help rebuild communities in South Los Angeles after the 1992 civil unrest.  Ms. Simril began her career in the U.S. Army as a Military Police Officer in the U.S. and Germany. 

Ms. Simril is active in the community outside of LA84 Foundation, currently serving on the Boards of the LA2024 Olympic Bid Committee; Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce;  United Way of Greater Los Angeles; Los Angeles Sports and Entertainment Commission; and Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation; and as a member of the Board of Regents of Loyola Marymount University (LMU).  In 2016, she was named to the Los Angeles Business Journal’s inaugural list of The Los Angeles 500 Most Influential People. 

Ms. Simril is a third generation Angeleno.  She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Urban Studies from Loyola Marymount University and a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from USC.  Ms. Simril resides in Studio City with her husband and two sons.

Dennis McGinn
Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables
Biography

Dennis McGinn

Fmr. U.S. Assistant Secretary of the Navy
Senior Advisor and Board Member, Customer First Renewables

Dennis McGinn is a Senior Advisor and Board Member at CustomerFirst Renewables.

Dennis, who served 35 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy, also served as Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment from September 2013 until January 2017. He is a former President of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), a past member of the Steering Committee of the Energy Future Coalition, United States Energy Security Council, Bipartisan Policy Center Energy Board, and CNA Military Advisory Board and currently serves on several boards, including the Rocky Mountain Institute. He is also a senior advisor to the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Center for Climate and Security.

Martin Adams
Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power
Biography

Martin Adams

Chief Operating Officer
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power

Martin Adams is the Chief Operating Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). With more than 30 years of experience with LADWP, Mr. Adams has worked throughout the Water System and was directly involved with the planning and implementation of sweeping upgrades centered on the removal of open distribution reservoirs and changes in water treatment to meet new water quality regulations. Prior to his current appointment, he spent ten years as the Director of Water Operations in charge of the day-to-day operation and maintenance of the Los Angeles water delivery system, including the historical Los Angeles Aqueduct and other supply sources, pump stations, reservoirs, water treatment, and management of Water System properties. Mr. Adams is a life-long resident of the Los Angeles area, and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

Brian Jordan
Vice President
Tetra Tech
Biography

Brian Jordan

Vice President
Tetra Tech

Brian Jordan is a Vice President at Tetra Tech and currently focused on the firm’s smart water initiative. Mr. Jordan recently joined Tetra Tech from MWH Global where he was Director of Global Corporate Development. In this capacity, he was responsible for coordinating and leading a variety of the company’s growth efforts including strategic partnerships and mergers and acquisitions, as well as organic growth initiatives aligned with the company’s strategic plan.

Prior to MWH, Brian was a Senior Vice President at AECOM where he was the executive responsible for profit and loss, sales and marketing efforts, and oversight of strategy and operations for the firm’s water business in a region that extended from the Rocky Mountains to continental Asia. Brian has been active in professional associations throughout his career. He has served on the Board of Directors of the American Water Works Association and been elected, nominated, or appointed to leadership and chair positions for a half-dozen different industry organizations. He is also an active author and public speaker having published or presented several dozen papers. A licensed professional engineer in California, Brian has a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the Virginia Military Institute, and completed graduate studies in the same field at Virginia Tech.

John Emerson
Vice Chairman
Capital Group International
Biography

John Emerson

Vice Chairman
Capital Group International

John Emerson is a global relationship manager and vice chairman of Capital Group International, Inc. He has 16 years of industry experience, all with Capital Group. He was most recently the United States ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany. In 2015, John was awarded the State Department's Susan M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, which is given annually to one non-career ambassador. Prior to accepting the ambassador posting, John was president of Private Client Services for the Capital Group Companies. Before joining Capital, he was deputy assistant to President Clinton where he coordinated his economic conferences, served as the president’s liaison to the nation’s governors, and led the administration’s efforts to obtain congressional approval of the GATT Uruguay Round Agreement and the extension of China’s MFN trading status. Before that, John served as Los Angeles Chief Deputy City Attorney, and was a partner in the law firm of Manatt, Phelps, Rothenberg, and Phillips. Additionally, he was appointed by President Obama to serve on his Advisory Committee for Trade Policy and Negotiations. He holds an honorary doctor of laws degree from Hamilton College, a juris doctorate degree from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Hamilton College. John is based in Los Angeles.